As rain fury continues to haunt Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that as many as 256 people have died in monsoon-ravaged Kerala since May 29.

At a press conference, Vijayan said, “A total of 80 dams operated by the Kerala’s electricity board and water authorities have reached maximum capacity. Water levels in the Periyar and Chalakudy rivers may increase (and by as much as one metre in the first).”

Vijayan has urged people living within a 1-kilometre radius of the Chalakudy river to move away immediately.

The chief minister added that the state is working in coordination with Centre. His administration has opened a 24/7 toll-free number for people stranded in various regions of the state. They can dial 1077 with the STD code, and the revenue department can locate their call.

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According to Union Minister KJ Alphons, the floods in Kerala are the worst since 1924.

“The Army, Navy, Coast Guard and NDRF are carrying out relief and rescue operations. I met the PM, home minister and defence minister and discussed the situation,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday spoke to CM Pinarayi Vijayan about the situation in flood-battered Kerala and asked the defence forces to speed up rescue and relief operations after fresh rain and flooding left a trail of death and destruction in the southern state.

An official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said Modi spoke with Vijayan again on Thursday morning.

“We discussed the flood situation in the state. Have asked Defence Ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state. Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala,” the Prime Minister said.

Incessant rains have led to massive flooding across Kerala. Twelve deaths were reported on Thursday, taking the toll to 79 since August 8.